Delhi HC seeks response from Rapido in plea seeking direction to address issues faced by disabled persons

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court recently sought a response from cab aggregator Rapido in a plea seeking direction to address issues faced by disabled people while using their services.
The high court was informed that despite as many as six updates, issues face by the disabled persons are yet to be resolved.
Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to Rapido and seeks its response on the plea moved Amar Jain for April 2, 2024.
It was also informed to the court that there have been multiple updates of the mobile application by the respondent.
The high court dealing with a petition seeking direction to the company to make their services accessible and disabled-friendly.
On November 9, 2023, the high court issued notice to Rapido and the Central government and asked them to file their response.
The Petition has been moved by Amar Jain who is a corporate lawyer, a legal policymaker and a disability rights activist and has been blind since birth. Another petitioner Dipto Ghosh is a banker at the Indian Bank at Siliguri, West Bengal and has total visual impairment.
The petition has been moved through advocate Rahul Bajaj against Roppen Transport Services Private Ltd (Rapido), a mobile application that provides Indian bike taxis and logistics services.
The Union ministry of road transport and highways as well department of empowerment of persons with disability (DEPWD), Government of India have also been arrayed as respondents.
It was stated that the petitioners are both working individuals who frequently book rides via the Rapido mobile app to commute from their homes to workplaces and elsewhere.
Petitioner Amar Jain has to juggle between courts and attends office during his day while Dipto Ghosh commutes daily to his office. For this, they have to rely on the Rapido mobile app, however, the inaccessibility issues of the application cause significant hindrance in using it, plea stated.
It said that there have been several incidents where Amar Jain tried to book a ride on the Rapido app but faced significant hurdles in doing so.
He tried to take up the matter with the co-founder of Rapido through his NGO, informing them about the issues in the app.
It is also stated that petitioner Dipto Ghosh has also faced an incident in the past where he was denied a ride by a Rapido ‘captain’ because of his disability and was humiliated for his condition.
Subsequently, a petition was initiated at the time, but was later closed after receiving an apology and assurance from Rapido that the said captain’s ID had been suspended.
The petitioners has sought direction to ministry and DEPWD to direct Rapido to take immediate, effective, and comprehensive steps in effecting the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, ensuring that the rights and accessibility of persons with disabilities are safeguarded.
The petitioners have prayed that these steps should include, but not be limited to, mandating accessibility audits, providing accessibility training for staff, implementing clear and enforceable accessibility standards, and improving the features of the app as suggested earlier, all within a strict time frame of one month.
They also have sought direction to Rapido to immediately conduct a comprehensive accessibility audit of its ride booking mobile app to identify and address all accessibility barriers for individuals with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments and ensure that the issues are promptly rectified within a reasonable time frame of six months.
The petitioners have also sought direction to Ministry and DEPWD to direct Rapido to collaborate with experts in the field of digital accessibility and provide specialized training to its customer care representatives to effectively address accessibility-related concerns and provide timely resolutions to customers with disabilities and ensure comprehensive and holistic end-to-end accessibility of its offering.
They have also sought a direction to impose penalty on Rapido under Section 89 of the RPWD Act, 2016 for failing to make their app accessible despite repeated attempts by the petitioners to address the same. They have also sought a direction to Ministry to put in place a strong legal mandate and operational guidance for cab aggregators to make their offerings disabled friendly.

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